The rosary will be a special focus of Sydney’s World Youth Day pilgrims from the beginning of their journey to a three-day retreat in Fatima after the big event itself.
Part of the gathering with Pope Francis from 1-6 August in Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon includes a visit to Fatima, where Our Lady appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children and asked them to pray the rosary for peace.
The Archdiocese of Sydney’s pilgrims will return to Fatima for a time of reflection and retreat, where they will pray the rosary on custom-made blessed rosary beads they will receive early in the pilgrimage.
Kathy Campbell, the archdiocese’s director of chancery projects, said the retreat will be a unique and very special experience.
It’s the first time a Sydney archdiocesan pilgrim group has spent time in such a sacred place for their post-WYD experience.
With Glen Thompson of Sydney Catholic Schools, Ms Campbell designed the pilgrim rosaries when they were in Fatima last year.
The rosaries feature a silver St John Paul II crucifix in recognition of the founder of WYD.
They also include a small medallion with an image of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children at each decade and a small amount of earth from Fatima.
“Praying the rosary will be a particular focus of this WYD journey, on the pilgrims’ bus trips, in sacred places and churches,” Ms Campbell said.
Each pilgrim will also receive a book with the Mass readings for each day of their pilgrimage, prayers and hymns.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will commission the pilgrims at Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 16 July before they depart in groups for pre-WYD pilgrimages over the following week.